Former woman footballer of Manipur, Tekcham Ranjita Devi became the only second woman referee from Manipur to be awarded the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Referee Badge, after Keilyani Chanu.
Keilyani is no longer active, making Ranjita the only active FIFA referee of India at present.
Ranjita’s name was approved by the FIFA Referees Committee for 2018.
After receiving the news, an elated Ranjita said, “I am so happy on being awarded the FIFA Referee Badge. I feel like my hard work has finally been rewarded.”
Her parents congratulated her and said that her hard work and passion for the sport led to the historic decision.
Two other women, Uvena Fernandes and Riiohlang Dhar, are in the FIFA panel as assistant referees currently.
Ranjita enrolled as State Class III referee in 2007 and had passed National Grade (Category II) in 2016.
Since then, she has officiated in four international matches, including three as assistant referees and one as referee.
She has also officiated in 51 national-level tournaments and various state and Inter-University matches.
The 32-year-old former woman football player hails from Khongjom Bazar in Thoubal district of Manipur.
She is currently serving as a woman constable in the 9th Indian Reserve Battalion.
Ranjita is the youngest of the five siblings of father Tekcham Ningthourel Singh and mother Ibemhal Devi. Both of them are farmers.
Ranjita started her career in the year 1999 as a football player playing for the local clubs. She later joined the Eastern Sporting Club at Wangkhei in 2004, and then shifted to KRIPSA in 2005.
Later in 2007, she starting applying for the referee post and got a breakthrough as the centre referee in the National Games held at Kerala and at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Games.
Till now, she has worked as a centre referee in 27 District Level Boys Tournaments, 18 State Level Girls Tournaments, two State Level Boys Tournaments, followed by six Inter-University and Inter-School Tournaments, 51 National Level Tournaments and four International Tournaments.
Ranjita was recently in Maharashtra officiating at the Hero Indian Women League at Kolhapur in Maharashtra.
The All Manipur Football Association and The Football Referees Welfare Committee Manipur hailed her achievement.